Detectives release suspect in Sarah murder case

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The Independent Online

Detectives hunting the killer of eight-year-old Sarah Payne yesterday released without charge a man they were questioning about her murder.

Detectives hunting the killer of eight-year-old Sarah Payne yesterday released without charge a man they were questioning about her murder.

Roy Whiting, 41, a mechanic, was released on police bail after being detained for less than 24 hours. Nick Sandford, a spokesman for Sussex Police, said: "Police can confirm that a Littlehampton man in his forties, held in connection with the Sarah Payne murder inquiry, is no longer being questioned by detectives. He has been released on police bail, pending further inquiries."

It is the second time Mr Whiting has been questioned and released on bail after being arrested in connection with the inquiry. He was first arrested within a day of Sarah going missing on 1 July.

Police said on Monday that Mr Whiting had been arrested after the discovery of new information, although they declined to say whether this related to forensic science test results or the emergence of a new witness.

Sarah disappeared after playing in a wheatfield with her brothers and sister close to their grandparents' house at Kingston Gorse, near Littlehampton, West Sussex, where they were spending the weekend. Her naked body was discovered more than two weeks later in undergrowth close to the A29 at Pulborough, 10 miles to the north.

Sarah's parents, Sara and Michael, of Surrey, met the Bishop of Dorking yesterday to discuss a memorial service for their daughter, which is to be held at Guildford Cathedral on 12 August. It is understood that they discussed the content and style of the service and voiced their concerns over the number of people expected to attend.

A family spokesman said: "Sara and Michael's biggest worry is that there will not be enough room for all the people who want to attend, so they want to make sure provisions are made for anyone who cannot be inside the cathedral."

He said that the family had also been told there was a possibility of meeting the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, later this week. But Downing Street said no meeting had been scheduled. Mr Blair wrote a letter of condolence to the family after Sarah's body was found.

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